Focal points Photography

A friendly walk through Ravenswood

I’ve mentioned before that although I am typically a Canon shooter, I love my Panasonic GF1. I first learned about the camera from my friend James. Since that purchase, almost all my photos on this site have been using this camera and its fixed focal lens.

Recently I was introduced to James’ friend Bradley, a passionate Leica shooter. The three of us swapped ideas and opinions on our respective cameras. We decided it would be fun to spend a day wandering a neighborhood together and shooting to get three different perspectives on the area.

We met at noon right after James got off air from CHIRP radio and started walking right from the CHIRP offices in Ravenswood, an area most of us were not very familiar with.

For me, this was a good opportunity to learn. Although I consider myself a very experienced street shooter and technical photographer, I always love taking the opportunity to pick the brains of others. Walking with my two friends was something I found challenging at first as very often the three of us would wind up shooting the same thing, and it was important to me to have some originality. However, as I walked I noticed I was taking significantly fewer photos than the two of them. The question I then began to ask myself was, why?

The problem with street photography is that, over time, there are only so many stop signs you can shoot before you bore your audience and yourself. I suspect that my shooting was more conservative because I’ve developed more of an eye for what interests me. Ultimately this means there is less I am attracted to, but the photos that come out, as a result, are stronger because I’m not wasting shots on things I don’t love.

Selectiveness is a discipline and a skill that is not to be taken lightly and one that it has taken me years to develop. In the age of digital cameras and nearly functionally unlimited storage, I believe we’ve lost the selective process in the craft. In the days of film we would be limited to 24-36 exposures, and that would be it. As a whole we were forced to be much more selective with our shots and it taught us to be better photographers. Now we can simply throw away bad shots. I like to limit myself to a number of exposures as if we are limited to a single roll of film. This is something I will explore more in the future.

As we ventured through Ravenswood, we found a good mix of parks, restaurants, and industrial spaces. This diverse mix caught our eyes and intrigued me. What follows are my photos from that day—all shot on my GF1. I will try and get Bradley and James to share their shots as well, as I find it particularly interesting that we often shot very similar subjects with very similar cameras and wound up with very different results.

Focal points Technology

A New Toy and an Evening Walk

Last Tuesday a coworker and I grabbed dinner after work at “Goddess and Grocer” downtown. It was a nice night out so after eating our meal outdoors she suggested that we walk back to her place in Lincoln Park where she would then drive me back to my apartment in Wrigleyville.

My legs were still mighty sore from ‘Journey to the End of the Night‘ a few days earlier but I figured the exercise would do me well and give me a good chance to shoot some photos.

In preparation for ‘Journey’ I purchased a new camera: the Panasonic Lumix GF1. I am normally a devout Canon shooter but when James started talking about the GF1 and ultimately let me try his; I was swayed.

My normal body is a Canon 5D Mk II and it is hands down my favorite camera I’ve ever owned, however it’s a bit bulky and expensive to be carrying around day to day. What caught my eye about the Lumix was it’s small size, excellent low light performance and it’s compatibility with a variety of micro 4/3 lenses. It’s the perfect camera to throw in my bag and have on me at all times which made it the perfect camera for ‘Journey.’

The opportunity to go for a walk on this particular night was an opportunity to further test out my new toy. What follows are the shots from that night.